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MSP slams north-east carbon capture project 'snub'

By Alan Beresford

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THE decision by the UK government not to back a carbon capture and storage facility in the north-east has been slammed by a local MSP.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast SNP MSP Karen Adam.
Banffshire and Buchan Coast SNP MSP Karen Adam.

Hopes had been high that funding would be handed to the Acorn Project, which is based at St Fergus but instead schemes in Liverpool and the Humber will be backed.

The Acorn Project aims to store captured carbon dioxide in the North Sea Goldeneye field.

News that the initiative has been overlooked in the first tranche of the funding has left Banffshire and Buchan Coast SNP MSP Karen Adam furious.

“I am utterly appalled at this decision," she said.

“We desperately needed this investment here in the north-east to help deliver a Just Transition.

"The downturn in oil and gas, Covid and Brexit have devastated our north-east communities.

“This would have been an incredible step forward for our work force, our environment and local economy.

“Make no mistake this is a political choice. Once again we have been overlooked and I’d go as far to say snubbed.

“When will these broad shoulders be there? I suspect never. What are the Scottish Tories doing at Westminster? I suspect their press team are working overtime to spin this one. Or shall it be complete silence?

“We cannot let this go unchallenged. I have met with Acorn, most recently just last week. They were very hopeful that their case was the most obvious choice. I had that hope for them and for the north-east. It’s a massive blow to all that has been worked towards."

“A shameful decision and I will be seeking answers and holding those that propose to stand up for the north-east to account. We must not take these political choices laying down which are ignoring the needs of our communities here in the north-east.”

However, Moray MP and leader of the Scottish Conservatives Douglas Ross that while he was disappointed at the news the SNP's claims "rang hollow".

Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. Picture: James Mackenzie
Moray MP and Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross. Picture: James Mackenzie

He continued: “I am disappointed that the Acorn Project was not placed in the top two projects during this first stage, but the government have been clear that as a reserve project, they will continue to engage with the Scottish Cluster throughout Phase-2 of the sequencing process to ensure it can continue its development and planning.

“I know this was a strong bid and one I supported and continue to support. I want to do everything I can to move this bid on and work with everyone involved to address any of the issues that meant it was not placed as highly as the other two projects.

“The comments from the SNP however ring hollow when they brought the Scottish Greens into government and Nicola Sturgeon made two of their MSPs ministers in her government. The Green’s manifesto opposed public investment in carbon capture and storage.

"So I hope SNP politicians will call out their coalition partners outright opposition to carbon capture and storage and then we can all work to ensure the Scottish Cluster bid is successful going forward.”

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